Benalla Queen Crowned Rising Star Winner

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Benalla Queen Crowned 2015 Rising Star Winner

Since auditions began back in April this year, The Wyndham Rising Stars Competition has grown to become ‘The wests answer to the Voice’. With hundreds of applications and numerous auditions, it all came down to 4 finalists on Thursday night at Hotel 520, all competing for a scholarship worth $25,000.

Opening the night, Michelle Gardiner welcomed guests with her laid back, soulful performance. Host and lead adjudicator, Steve Jaz, introduced the night providing a background and insight into his own experiences leading up to the foundation of the Universal School of Music.

Looking dazzling in white and shimmering silver, our first finalist, Amber King took to the stage with a joyful rendition of Johnny Cash and a mighty performance of Journey’s, Open Arms.

The competition’s youngest rising star, Taylah Jade appeared a little nervous at first but grew in confidence as she drew full emotion from Rihanna’s, Take a Bow.

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Breaking up the night, Paige Spiers (below) sung songs off her upcoming album, Prelude, pouring her heart and soul into her music. By the end the audience’s hearts were all breaking with Paige.

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With her strongest vocal performance yet, 3rd finalist, Claudia Appaduray saved her best until last with a beautiful, understated version of Emeli Sandé, Read all About it, Pt. 3.

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Wildcard and final contestant, Monique Gheri’s powerhouse vocals were in full, glorious display on Beyonce’s, Broken Hearted Girl with perhaps the most complete performance overall.

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With some final questions from the judges, Paige Smith and Direct Current, the youngest band playing the oldest hits, entertained the crowd while the judges went backstage to make their final deliberations.

Coming back out, 3rd and 4th places were quickly announced: Taylah in at 4th and Monique 3rd with Century 21 presenting the awards. Tension mounted for 1st and 2nd places as our Benalla queen, Amber King was crowned the winner, Claudia a close second.

Getting the party started, Jaiid performed a 10 min power set of favourite dance hits before launching into her debut single, Speed of Light. 2012 Voice finalist and guest judge, Jimmy Cupples also got up to perform a scintillating rendition of ‘It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World’ with Steve on keyboards.

Amber closed the night out triumphantly, a humble and unassuming winner.

Here are the final results of the 2015 Wyndham Rising Stars Competition. A BIG THANK YOU to the following sponsors and partners for their support:

Winning Prize – Amber King
Wins: 12 month Artist Development Program Scholarship valued at $25,000 thanks to Universal School of Music & the USM Student Support Foundation

Runner up – Claudia Appaduray
Wins: $1000 cash thanks to Hotel 520

3rd Place – Monique Gheri
Wins: Professional Artist Website thanks to Century 21 Point Cook valued at $799

4th place – Taylah Jade
Wins: Voucher to a professional development seminar at USM valued at $299

Thank you to all the contestants, their friends and families, the judges, USM crew and everyone who contributed to the success of the 2015 Wyndham Rising Stars Competition.


Learn more about the Artist Development Program